Thursday, January 6, 2011

I found an incredible set of post-WWII photos.

One of the perks of working in storage facilities is cleaning out the abandoned units. You would think its the kind of job that belongs on Dirty Jobs, and often it is (one time we had a customer who's doggie hotel went bankrupt and as a result he was able to keep is stuff in storage for 3 years without paying OR accessing it... this included dog food that attracted crickets which attracted spiders which attracted beetles...); but slightly less often there are units that are full of things that just needed a little TLC.

Last month we cleared out the unit of a deceased music teacher. The other side of treasure hunting is the tragedy that usually brings you to such circumstances. I don't know anything about the death of this particular individual. I suspect that his unit was deemed abandoned because the family members were unaware of it and, when they did find out about it, the amount due was so high they opted to let it because our site's property.

Even though I never heard his story and met any family members, I could tell you that he was a saxophonist and an aspiring (or maybe accomplished!) composer. He really liked cheesy laughs and had books and books of awful one-liners and knock knock jokes. This must have made him popular with his high school students because there were cards and plaques from student honoring him. From 1951 to around 1954 he had a small camera with which he took pictures of himself and servicemen stationed in Japan; especially the all Black army band.

One of my co-workers and I decided that the pictures were too cool to toss with rest and, before another guy whisked them away to be presented to potential buyer, I managed to snap some iPhone pictures of the album. I've been begging him to give the pictures to me if the buyer doesn't take them. I really hope I can scan them and get them to the California African American Museum.

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